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Go social with these Wordpress plug-ins

Wordpress is a fine blogging tool, but it needs some social improvements to make it even better. That's precisely why you need some Wordpress plug-ins to help you out.

With the help of plug-ins, you can extend the functionality of your Wordpress blog far beyond what's available to you when you add it to your server.

One of the best ways to get the most out of your blogs is through social plug-ins. These simple plug-ins can be added to your blog to help you connect socially with both your readers and their friends. They offer a fine way to build traffic to your site.

Go social with your blog

Add to Facebook If you want to make it easy for readers to syndicate your content to Facebook, Add to Facebook is the plug-in for you.

The plug-in provides a simple option at the bottom of each post, called "Share on Facebook." When the reader clicks on that link, they're immediately delivered to their Facebook page, showing a thumbnail of the image in your blog post, as well as the beginning of your post. If Facebook followers click on that link, they'll be delivered to your page. It's a neat utility. And it's a great way to share content through social channels.

Add to Facebook
Add to Facebook makes it easy for readers to syndicate your content. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Digg Digg Although its name might suggest that Digg Digg is a way to get readers to share your content with the popular social news site, it's much more than that.

Digg Digg allows you to add voting buttons to your blog. You can add a TweetMeme retweet button, a Yahoo Buzz button, and a "Submit to Reddit" option, along with your Digg button. The plug-in also allows you to decide where to place those buttons. You can choose the top, bottom, left, or right of your post.

Digg Digg
Digg Digg is a great way to syndicate your content around the Web. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

FriendFeed Comments If you're a FriendFeed user, you know that it's a great site to discuss interesting stories. FriendFeed Comments helps you bring those discussions to your blog.

When you activate FriendFeed Comments, you need only to input your FriendFeed username, tweak a couple of settings, and watch all the comments about your blog post get added to your site. Any comment placed on FriendFeed will be displayed on your blog. You can see the discussions made between different people on the social network. Even better, all those comments are placed in-line with comments made on your blog.

FriendFeed Comments will display comments from the social site. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Instant Highlighter Instant Highlighter provides readers with the option to highlight different portions of your blog posts and share that with Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, and other social sites. They can also save portions of your blog post for their own future consumption.

But to do that, they'll be brought to the plug-in's developer page, giving them a variety of options to choose from. It's a little confusing at first and I'm not quite sold on the implementation. It might annoy some readers. But if your readers like it, the plug-in could significantly improve your chances of getting your posts on social networks. Test it out to see what your readers think before you commit to Instant Highlighter.

Instant Highlighter
Instant Highlighter is a test case. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Social Bookmarks Sharing your content on different social networks is extremely important as you try to build your blog. Social Bookmarks will help you do just that.

When you activate Social Bookmarks, it automatically adds several social-networking icons to the bottom of each of your blog posts. When the reader chooses one of those options, they can send your post's link to their social profile. The list includes Delicious, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo Buzz, Digg, and more. Adding content to the profile is quick and easy. It's a really nice app. Check it out.

Social Bookmark
Social Bookmarks is a great way to get readers to share content. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Twitter for Wordpress Twitter for Wordpress allows you to place your Wordpress updates into your sidebar for all your readers to see.

After it's activated, Twitter for Wordpress won't automatically work. Instead, you'll need to either drag-and-drop a Twitter widget into your sidebar or you'll need to add some simple PHP code to the sidebar to have it display your Twitter updates. The Twitter widgets make it look nicer, but if you want a simple status message on your sidebar, the second option is fine. Twitter for Wordpress is a nice plug-in if you want something simple.

Twitter for Wordpress is OK, but not great. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Twitter Friendly Links Since many Wordpress blogs don't provide the most Twitter-friendly links, Twitter Friendly Links helps solve that problem by automatically shortening your blog's URLs.

When readers share a blog post with their Twitter followers, the link won't show the full post URL. Instead, the Twitter link will display your site's domain, followed by a unique identifier. It's similar to TinyURL or, but instead of those domains, you'll see your own. It's a simple feature, for sure, but it's extremely useful for those who don't want to lose Twitter-based traffic due to a long URL.

Twitter Friendly Links makes your URLs much nicer.

My top 3

1. Digg Digg: Getting your content added to important content-syndication platforms is made simple with Digg Digg.

2. FriendFeed Comments: FriendFeed is a great discussion platform. It's even better when it's on your blog.

3. Twitter Friendly Links: There's something simple, yet compelling about Twitter Friendly Links.